Wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing, this light-filled retreat embraces the Guatemalan forest from all angles.
Built in 1965, a modest, gabled hut on the outskirts of Guatemala City has been transformed into an expansive 4,467-square-foot getaway by architect Alejandro Paz of local studio Paz Arquitectura, who walked a fine line between adhering to the original architectural style and injecting new elements that blur the line between indoors and out.
In response to the owner’s desire for a larger bedroom and greater space for entertaining, Alejandro designed two additions on either side of the compact hut. One houses an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen, while the other contains the master suite with a sitting area. The original hut has been modified into the guest quarters.
"La Cabañita’s goal is to integrate the natural environment of a densely wooded terrain on the outskirts of Guatemala City, reimagining the idea of the proportion of spaces and focusing on erasing the borders between the interior and exterior in a unique way," explains Alejandro.
Taking cues from the structure’s triangular joist steel frame and steeply pitched roof, the architect has topped the new additions with butterfly roofs that match the angle of the original construction’s peaked roof, yet in reverse.
The cantilevered terrace has been built out into a larger deck unifying the three structures, which are slightly offset due to the sloped site.
All three units are linked on the opposite side of the home with a glazed corridor that is elevated off the ground and topped with a thin concrete slab—a material Alejandro says "emphasizes lightness and leaves the importance to the three modules."